November 16 this year marks the 5th anniversary of the establishment of comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Vanuatu.
Five years ago in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, President Xi Jinping hosted a collective meeting with leaders of Pacific island countries that have diplomatic relations with China, including Vanuatu. All leaders agreed to elevate their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development, opening a new chapter for China-Vanuatu all-round cooperation.
Over the past five years, under the guidance of our leaders and nourishment of our peoples, China-Vanuatu relations have matured through trials and hardships, and become a model of mutual respect, solidarity and coordination between developing countries.
Over the past five years, China and Vanuatu always treat each other with sincerity, fully respect each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, support the independent choosing of development pathways suited to respective national conditions, and continue to deepen political mutual trust. Vanuatu firmly abides by the one China principle as the cornerstone of its foreign policy. Especially in 2019, China and Vanuatu signed a cooperation plan within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, as the blueprint for practical cooperation across the board. In 2021, China and Pacific island countries jointly agreed on a mechanism of regular meetings among foreign ministers, which created a new pathway to closer collaboration and communication on policies between China and Vanuatu.
Over the past five years, we always uphold the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and continuously expand practical cooperation for mutual benefit. Hailed as the Roads of Hope by the Vanuatu people, the Tanna Road, Malekula Road etc. connect communities and villages, and promote Vanuatu’s agriculture and tourism development. Sino-Van, a joint venture between China and Vanuatu, has opened a new chapter in the development of Vanuatu’s fishing industry and enabled Vanuatu to export tuna. To further promote Vanuatu high-quality organic products’ entry into China, China has invited Vanuatu to participate in the China International Import Expo for six consecutive years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, China and Vanuatu stood shoulder to shoulder and helped each other out in solidarity. China provided several batches of medical supplies, including 200,000 doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines, giving firm support to Vanuatu’s pandemic response. China supports the climate Resolution led by Vanuatu during the 77th session of the UN General Assembly requesting the International Court of Justice to provide an advisory opinion on the obligations of States under international law to protect the rights of present and future generations against the adverse effects of climate change, and works with Vanuatu in the construction of the joint observatory, so as to fight climate change and other global challenges together. China spares no effort in providing assistance to Vanuatu for enhancing Vanuatu’s independent development capabilities without any political strings attached. According to the Vanuatu side, the assistance not only gives fish, but also enables Vanuatu to “catch our own fish”.
Over the past 5 years, we always uphold outlooks on civilization featuring equality, mutual learning, dialogue and inclusiveness to promote cultural and people-to-people exchanges and deepen the friendship between our two peoples. China consistently helps Vanuatu improve education and stop poverty from being passed on to the next generation. These efforts include supporting Vanuatu’s talents education and capacity building, and cooperation with the Vanuatu government on Chinese language teaching in Vanuatu schools. Many Ni-Vanuatu graduates from China have become the backbone of Vanuatu’s development. Farmers with modern agricultural expertise and young entrepreneurs have grown up through bilateral training programs. Enthusiasm of Ni-Vanuatu students in learning the Chinese language and culture continues to rise. In addition, several Chinese medical teams have served in Vanuatu, and Ark Peace medical ship has visited Vanuatu twice, which both contribute to the building of a community of health between the two countries.
The fruitful achievements over the past 5 years sufficiently prove that China and Vanuatu have jointly taken the right path in developing our bilateral relations. Our two countries have always treated each other with integrity, respect and sincerity, which not only ensures the sound and steady development of China-Vanuatu comprehensive strategic partnership, but also vividly interprets the true meaning of a community with a shared future for humanity.
During his meeting with Manasseh Sogavare, Prime Minister of Solomon Islands in July this year, President Xi Jinping pointed out that China’s policy towards the Pacific island countries is based on “four fully respects”: first, China fully respects the sovereignty and independence of Pacific island countries; second, China fully respects the will of Pacific island countries; third, China fully respects the cultural traditions of Pacific island nations; fourth, China fully respects Pacific island countries’ effort to seek strength through unity. Recently, when President Xi met with Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister James Marape, he emphasized that China’s assistance to Pacific island countries is not attached to any political strings. China does not seek any exclusive privileges, nor does China impose its will on Pacific island countries or pay lip service to its commitments. China fully respects the wishes and needs of Pacific island countries. President Xi’s solemn remarks not only show that China attaches great importance to its relations with Pacific island countries, but also set the direction for further development of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Vanuatu.
Standing at the new historical starting point, China is ready to work with Vanuatu to deepen our friendship with sincerity and advance cooperation with action. China, together with Vanuatu, will promote synergy among the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative, the Global Civilization Initiative and Vanuatu 2030: the People’s Plan, extend friendly exchanges and cooperation across the board under the framework of high-quality Belt and Road Cooperation, and enhance communication and coordination on international affairs, so as to jointly usher in a brighter future for China-Vanuatu comprehensive strategic partnership.